|The II in this logo is hard to see, and it drives me nuts every time I look at it.|
We have just released our newest game. It's Avernum 2: Crystal Souls. It is a huge indie RPG for Windows and Mac (iPad coming soon), on Steam, GoG.com, Humble Store, and our own website. You know. All the places the cool kids hang out.
It came out yesterday and early sales are very strong. Thank you, kind customers!
Avernum 2: Crystal Souls is, like half of what we do, a rewrite. This particular story is arguably the one loved most by our fans. (Avernum 3 is the other contender) The previous incarnation, Avernum 2, came out way, WAY back in 2000, so I am utterly unapologetic about releasing a rewrite.
My main goals when doing these rewrites is to respect and maintain what made people love them in the first place. This is made so much more important by the fact that I can't write new games like this anymore.
Cool Things About Avernum 2
The first two Avernum games have a story structure that is still unique in RPGs. There isn't one storyline. There's three, each of which has its own goal, missions, final boss, etc. You can play one of them and have a satisfying game experience, or you can be hardcore and do more.
It's a huge game, and I wanted people to be able to play a smaller chunk of it and still feel that they got somewhere. I think there's a good idea in there, and other developers should steal it.
Also, the game takes place in Avernum, a subterranean nation full of exiles, petty criminals, and weird, alien races. It's like Australia, but with even more monsters. Or like the proverbial parents' basement, but a country. It's a really cool setting, one that has resonated with players for over twenty years. I still love it.
Nobody Wants an Aging Rock Star To Play the New Stuff
If you go see the Rolling Stones in concert, you don't want to hear their new stuff. Yuck. Boring! You want to hear the old hits, written when they were young and energetic and crazy and fresh.
My old games are kind of the same. As I rework them, I can't get over how weird and quirky and energetic and chaotic the stuff I did when I was young was. My games were full of rough edges, joyfully overpowered spells, and the sort of concentrated oddness I have a harder time generating as I get old and boring.
Rewriting them, I've tried to make it a bit more user-friendly with modern tweaks like quest lists and tooltips. Yet, I mostly spend my time being jealous of how silly and loose I could be when I was young.
When I wrote the Avernum trilogy for the first time (when they were called Exile), I just threw everything in there I could think of, and, thanks to a weird alchemy of skill and dumb luck, it worked. People loved the games, and I got a career out of it.
|Avernum 2 was a rewrite of Exile 2: Crystal Souls, which came out in 1996 and looks like this. Some people seriously tell me that my games haven't changed at all since I started. Oh, you silly internet!|
You Still Have To Make New Stuff, Or You Go Insane
Don't get me wrong. I am proud of my newer games. They don't sell as well, but they do have a following. I don't hallucinate the fan mail.
I still need to keep doing the rewrites. They make good money. People like them. The old games don't run well (or at all) anymore. I get tablet versions out of the deal. So I'm going to keep doing it. When people complain about rewrites, it just means they've failed to fully acknowledge how awesome I am.
And I still need to write new games, with new systems and interfaces and stories, or I will simply go insane. If you like my old stuff better, I won't take offense. Different people like different things.
But More About Avernum 2: Crystal Souls
It's a really big game. The story and setting are cool. It's retro and oldschool, but with a modern interface to keep it fun. There's a big demo on our website, if you aren't sure. Take a look!